If you’re a seasoned dealer, this won’t be groundbreaking news to you, however if you’re on the greener side, you’ll be interested to know how much a simple window sticker can impact your sale, reputation, and business.  In 1985 the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule, commonly called the Used Car Rule, was put in place, and later updated in 2016.  This rule requires Window stickers, or “Buyer’s Guides”, to be placed on every vehicle before you offer it for sale.  It’s unlikely that you have a stockpile of pre-2016 Buyer’s Guides laying around, but if you do make sure you toss them and only use the updated version.

So, what’s so important about the Buyer’s Guide?  Everything.  Everything down to font size is important.  The Buyer’s Guide offers as much protection for you as the dealer as it does to the customer, that’s why its imperative that you do not alter the Buyer’s Guide by changing the wording, font and format.  The whole point of the FTC regulating the Buyer’s Guide is to give the consumer upfront, straight forward details on the vehicle so they can make an informed decision on their purchase.  It suggests the buyer get a vehicle history report and search independently for open recalls.  It even encourages the buyer to get all dealer promises in writing.  However, savvy consumers looking for a windfall based on a technicality can result in massive fines and potential lawsuits for dealers.  What do we mean?  Printing this guide on paper smaller than 11” x 7 ¼” can result in a violation.  Forgetting to put a name and phone number for someone to contact in the event of a complaint can result in a violation.  How much are we talking?  The FTC can charge over $46,000.00 per violation.  In 2014 the FTC filed suit against a dealership in Arkansas for failing to display Buyer’s Guides in the windows.

The Code of Federal Regulations offer very specific rules on where and how the Buyer’s Guide needs to be displayed.  For example, it needs to be prominently and conspicuously displayed where someone can readily see both sides.   You can hang it from a mirror, place it under a windshield wiper or put it on a window.  Inside a glovebox, center console, or trunk would violate the rule.  It also must be printed in black ink on white paper, no other colors are acceptable.   A complete and detailed list of requirements can be found in §455.2 through §455.5 with the exact verbiage you will need on this document.  Also if you are conducting the sale in Spanish you must offer your customer the Spanish version of the Buyer’s Guide.

It’s important to note that Florida is not an Implied Warranty state, so Florida dealers must use the “As-Is” version and check the box next to “As-Is No Dealer Warranty” when selling a vehicle as-is, or check the box next to “Dealer Warranty” and complete the warranty information in a warranty is offered.

The FTC offers a great article answering questions from Dealers regarding 2016 revision of the Used Car Rule, click here to read.